The owners of a new fast casual restaurant concept called Market 65 are planning on opening their doors next week, pending final inspections. This new restaurant is taking over the old San Francisco Pizza Oven location at 65 E. State Street, in between the Ohio Theatre and Hyatt on Capital Square. With a focus on local produce, meats and other products, Market 65 will provide Downtown dwellers with a variety of freshly made salads, wraps, soups and more.
We recently spoke with co-owner Patrick Katzenmyer for a Q&A about the new restaurant to find out more about their menu, their concept, and why they’re excited about being located next door to the new Columbus Commons park.
Q: Can you tell us first about the team behind Market 65?
A: Market 65 was started by myself, Patrick Katzenmeyer and by Anthony Micheli. We’re the owners, principals, founders, floor cleaners, dish washers, and whatever else. I think with all the leftover equipment we have in the back from San Francisco Oven, we’re also hoarders at this point! We recently hired Eric Byrd who has worked at Marchella’s and M as our chef.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background, any experience in the food industry.
A: Anthony has a ton of restaurant experience, working in the industry for about 10 years now by serving as a waiter at a number of restaurants and moving up to management at Martini and Cameron’s. My restaurant experience is more limited — I worked at the Starliner Diner for a few years during high school and college, and worked as a cook in Put-in-Bay for a summer.
Q: What led you to wanting to open Market 65 and how did the concept develop?
We begun to seriously consider it in the beginning of 2010 and started looking around at the Columbus food scene, the restaurants currently here, and the trends that were happening. We started to formulate this idea that there was a real lack of quick, fresh food. We believed that the words “fast” and “fresh” didn’t have to be contradiction, and we decided to look into how this could be done. The way to get the freshest food is to get the stuff that’s closest to your home, so the decision to source as many of our ingredients from Ohio as possible was an easy one… not to mention the fact that we are both lifelong Ohioans and love our state. The local food movement is not going away and is only getting stronger, and people are more aware and more interested in where their food comes from for a number of reasons.
One of the other “trends” that’s not really a trend anymore that we wanted to make sure we paid attention to was being environmentally conscious. Since a large percentage of our food will be ordered to-go, we made the decision that we didn’t want to fill up Ohio’s landfills with all of our plastic-ware. Every to-go container from our salad bowls to our straws to our coffee sleeves are compostable. We think this plays into the whole customer experience of eating good food the right way.
Q: What attracted you to this space at Capital Square?
A: I’ve worked on Capital Square for the past 5 years and have probably eaten at every restaurant in the area at least ten times. We felt that there was definitely room for a fresh, healthy concept here, and that we could really appeal to a lot of people looking for something a little different. Also, with the statehouse across the street, you have people from all over Ohio both working and visiting all the time. We want someone to walk into our restaurant, see that we carry cheese from Lucky Penny Farms, for example, and say, “Oh, they’re in Garrettsville. I grew up 10 miles from Garrettsville.” That connection to the food is really important to us.
Also, just as importantly, we believe Downtown Columbus is right on the edge of blowing up. With the new park, the Scioto Mile, the new courthouse, and the development on Gay Street, among other things, Downtown is starting to become a pretty cool place to live and work. There are over 100,000 people that work downtown, with thousands more visiting every week, and people are really starting to live Downtown as well. You can’t argue with that.
Q: Tell us a bit more about the menu and the customer experience.
A: The Market part of Market 65 comes from the idea that in a way we want the customer to feel like they’re coming into something like a farmer’s market, or at least be reminded of one. While you won’t be purchasing a pound of tomatoes, we do want to display all of the produce that we’re using right out front, so the customer knows what they’re getting. The majority of our prep work will also be done in front of the customer, and we’ve placed our grill out front so the customer can see what’s going on there as well. By having all this “action” right in front of the customer, we hope to produce a lively, energetic experience for the customer and make it kind of fun.
As for the actual process of going through the line, the customer will first choose their salad or choose to create their own. They’ll be walked through the line and watch as some of their food is prepped in front of them… think halved avocados having the skin removed, corn being sliced off the cob, etc. At the end of the line, the food is dumped out onto a cutting board and chopped in front of the customer using a mezzaluna knife. The ingredients are then placed back into the bowl, one of our homemade dressings is added and mixed in, and the customer chooses whether they would like everything in salad or wrap form.
Q: What food purveyors are you working with to deliver local products to customers?
A: While it’s hard to get a lot of produce from Ohio during the winter, we are committed to getting all of our meats and cheeses, as well as some other ingredients from Ohio. We’ve partnered with DNO Produce for a lot of our produce needs, and while they go out of state during the winter months they come back to Ohio producers early in the summer. Part of the fun is constantly trying to add to the list, which will always be under construction. Here is what we have right now:
- Gerber Poultry (Chicken, Kidron)
- Bower and Sons (Beef & sausage, Millersport)
- Ohio Packing (Bacon, Columbus)
- Hillendale Farms (Eggs, Croton)
- Lucky Penny Farms (Goat and Feta Cheeses, possibly some desserts)
- LW Randles (Cheddar and some other cheeses, Warsaw)
- Stutzman (Oatmeal, possibly some other grain type things)
- Gold n’ Krisp (Potato Chips, Massilon)
- Stauf’s Coffee
- Ghossain’s Bakery (Wraps, Youngstown)
We;re still looking at 3 or 4 more cheese places. There are some really good artisan cheeses from Ohio that we’re working on prices for, such as Blue Jacket Farms and Canal Junction. We’re also still working on bread, but we’ve narrowed it down to two local bakeries.
Q: What sort of seasonal items do you have in mind for the summer growing season?
A: I think as summer comes around there will be a lot more fruit on our menu; seasonal berries, melons, etc. We hope to be able to switch the majority of our produce over to Ohio farms by mid to late June.
Q: Tell us a bit more about the soups and dressings and other made-from-scratch items on the menu.
A: We have a pretty simple menu, primarily focusing on the quality of the ingredients, so where we get to be creative is with our dressings and soups. We’ve divided our dressings into two categories, classic and exotic. Our chef made the first batch of them last week, and we were extremely impressed and have been perfecting them ever since. We were a little worried that committing to making all 18 of our dressings in house would be too much of a strain on our chef and cooks, but after tasting them we realized that we definitely have to do it. There is such a huge difference.
Q: What will opening hours and target opening date be?
A: To start, we’re going to open at 7:00 AM, but we won’t have a closing time. We’ll probably stay open until 8:00 or so to get a feel with how we’ll do at night, and work hard to get some people coming through after hours either from the Ohio Theatre, the gym down the street, or preparing to-go items for those in and around our building and their families. If we can make it work staying open later than most other Capital Square restaurants, and not contribute to the area (excluding Gay St.) from dying at 5:00, we really want to do that.
We are shooting really hard for opening on Tuesday, February 1st, but it’s going to be tough. Definitely open by Monday, February 7th.
More information can be found online at www.MarketSixtyFive.com.